Looking for work? Job Fair is the place to be

8 Jul 2016

Last year's Summer Job Fair drew more than 450 people to the Southeast Tennessee Trade & Conference Center at Athens Regional Park. On July 21, the annual event moves into the cafeteria at McMinn County High School to accommodate the growing crowd.

Building on last year's tremendous success, the fifth installment of McMinn and Meigs counties' annual Summer Job Fair is moving to a larger venue.

On Thursday, July 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the McMinn County High School cafeteria will be the site for the 2016 edition of the Summer Job Fair. The event will match people seeking career opportunities with businesses and other organizations with the ability to provide them with that chance.

The event is co-sponsored by Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Athens (TCAT), Tennessee Career Center, McMinn County Economic Development Authority, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Tennessee Development District and the City of Athens.

"Most everything in this community that has had great success has been the result of different partners working together," said TCAT Executive Director Stewart Smith. "I've got to give credit to the (Tennessee) Career Center this year for really taking a leadership role in putting this together.

"Everybody's really stepped up this year," he continued. "We've had a lot of participation from community businesses to provide donations that will make the Job Fair something that's more economical and less cost to the taxpayers, but ultimately will put money back in the hands of the taxpayers through a better workforce."

Only businesses and industries with available jobs are invited to attend the Job Fair. Guests will be able to fill out job applications during the event, as well as gain information about each company's hiring process, career opportunities and the necessary qualifications for these jobs.

Job seekers are encouraged to review their resume and print multiple copies to distribute during the event. Guests are also urged to dress in professional attire and be prepared to answer interview questions.

The Job Fair began in a single room at TCAT and drew about 200 people in its inaugural year. In 2015, more than 450 job seekers filled the Southeast Tennessee Trade and Conference Center at Athens Regional Park for an opportunity to meet face-to-face with potential employers.

As the Job Fair has gained attendance and exposure, it has now outgrown the Conference Center and moved to its new venue at McMinn County High School.

"If we get much more than that, I don't where we're going to go; sometimes we're just victims of our own success," joked Smith in excitement about the event's growth.

Despite the steadily declining local unemployment rate, hundreds of high quality and financially lucrative jobs remain available, many of which require specific skills training. Job placement specialists and educational institutions will also be on-hand at the Job Fair to enlighten job seekers about the correct path to obtain these skills.

"We still have a lot of demand in manufacturing, particularly for those with more technical-specific skills," said Smith. "The Job Fair will have an abundance of opportunities, from retail and service industries to manufacturing, as well as educational opportunities and temporary positions."

Businesses and organizations that would like to participate in the Job Fair must RSVP by Thursday, July 14. There is no charge to attend and each participant will be provided with a six-foot table and two chairs. If necessary, electricity is available on request.

Biscuits and coffee will be served for breakfast and, upon RSVP, lunch for employer representatives will be served for up to two people.

To obtain a employer registration form, to RSVP or for any other information, email Sharon Webb at sharon.webb@tcatathens.edu